Laurent Ferrier the Galet Traveller tames world time
Distances are shrinking as travellers circle the globe at ever greater speed. The plane whisks us in a few hours to another continent, to the heart of another culture, to another moment of the day or night. Rio yesterday, Moscow today, Sydney tomorrow. Long-haul planes criss-cross the oceans and straddle time zones. Fortunately, watchmaking is there, as loyal and accurate as ever. It puts landmarks in place, punctuating time to enable us to keep a foothold in temporal reality. With the Galet Traveller, Laurent Ferrier offers a chance to cross time zones by one smooth move on the wrist. Pressing a push-button brings the time zone up to date. The Galet Traveller thus adopts all the hours on the planet in a single manoeuvre.
Time around the world
It was not until the end of the 19th century that world time established itself universally. The need to harmonise time between various geographical locations made itself felt with the development of the maritime travel and the railways. In 1884, the Earth was officially divided into 24 time zones at the International Meridian Conference in Washington. Greenwich Mean Time became the time reference throughout the world for most of the 20th century, before being replaced by UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) based on the Earth’s rotation.
Time zones, corresponding to the division of the surface of the Earth into various zones living according to the same hours, time zones stretch from the North to the South pole and are marked off by two meridians 15° apart. One hour is detracted or added for each time zone crossed from East to West or in the opposite direction. Thus, if it is noon at Greenwich, the 0 meridian, it is 3 pm in Moscow three time zones eastwards. While this system did not initially meet with unanimous approval, it is now vital to the smooth functioning of our planet.
Time zones are not always stable. Several reasons may influence chances, such as adjustment to “summer” or Daylight Saving Time (DST), or the desire to standardise time over an extremely broad territory. But one thing is for sure: the mission of globalising time that time zones were designed to serve has indeed been accomplished.
A useful complication
The Galet Traveller helps its user get his bearings within this world time. A dual-time display is an extremely useful complication when travelling. This new watch was developed with the aim of ensuring extremely smooth handling, while also ensuring visual balance, readability and performance in all circumstances – all values dear to Laurent Ferrier.
Positioned perfectly geometrically and delicately integrated on the left side of the case, two oblong push-buttons are pressed to modify local time indicated by a central hand. These two buttons at 8 and 10 o’clock are subtly integrated into the case middle so as to follow the harmonious curve of this solid gold “pebble”. Only a tiny notch designed for a fingernail forms a tiny protruding edge in order to facilitate handling. When moving from one time zone to another, the central hour hand indicating local time may be moved forwards or backwards, in one-hour increments, by successive presses. Pressing the upper push-button advances the hand by one hour, while pressing the lower push-button moves it backwards, all without affect the minutes hand. On a flight from Geneva to New York, the traveller will thus simply need to press the lower push-button six times to ensure the watch is set to exact local time upon landing.
In addition to this fast local-time adjustment, the date, appearing in a window at 3 o’clock, is automatically modified when the hand passes midnight, thus spontaneously adapting to transitions between the various time zones. The window at 9 o’clock maintains the reference or home time. Thanks to its 24-hour display, it is easy to check whether it is day or night in one’s place of residence even from the other side of the world.
The Galet Traveller developed by Laurent Ferrier ensures smooth continuity in the watchmaking journey of the House. This same spirit of functionality, as well as readability and aesthetic appeal already present in the other models from the brand. The solid white or red gold pebble-shaped case – that has become a brand signature – recalls the pocket watches of yesteryear. The winding crown is as round and generously sized as ever, and the gold hands retain their characteristic shape. The extremely slender hour-markers and the two bevelled apertures ensure optimal readability. Laurent Ferrier thereby once again proves its ability to find the perfect balance between a strongly identifiable neoclassical design on the one hand, and tried and tested efficiency on the other.
The silver-toned, midnight blue or slate grey dial alternates between two aesthetic finishes: vertical satin-brushed finish in the centre and circular satin-brushed around the outside. A transferred minute circle punctuates the circumference with ten white gold, red gold or white-painted hour-markers, with two at 12 o’clock. In the two apertures, one at 3 o’clock for the date and the other at 9 o’clock for home time, the Arabic numerals are painted in black. The seconds counter at 6 o’clock is hollowed and bevelled. The gold central hands sweeping over the dial are “assegai-shaped” for the hours and minutes and baton-type for the seconds. This extremely graphical dial in which every detail has its own importance, display a distinct family likeness with the rest of the Laurent Ferrier collection.
A finely tuned movement
The Galet Traveller houses self-winding Calibre LF 230.01, from the famous line of Micro-Rotor movements with natural escapement. It incorporates the dual time-zone adjustment mechanism as well as the date. This useful complication, that took a full two years to develop, is fully integrated and each part is an integral part of the global architecture of the base calibre.
As with the previous developments, LF Calibre 230.01 features a pawl-fitted micro-rotor unidirectional winding system, backed by a double direct-impulse natural escapement. The latter, devised by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 18th century, is now made using modern technologies that contribute to the exceptional precision of Laurent Ferrier watches. The major distinctive feature of this natural escapement lies in the fact that two impulses are directly imparted to the balance with each oscillation. Its excellent efficiency guarantees a high amplitude for the balance operating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.
Laurent Ferrier uses a silicon pallet-lever for its lightness and its self-lubricating properties, as well as escape-wheels in a phosphorous nickel alloy known for its extreme hardness, all made using LIGA technology. The main advances of these cutting-edge materials lies in the resulting perfect surface states, as well as strong resistance to both wear and corrosion. The micro-rotor is in engine-turned 18K gold. It is fitted with a “silent bloc” shock-absorbing system similar to chassis mounting rubbers. The winding device is offset and fitted on the mainplate between two bridges, and fixed between two jewels. This reduces the thickness of the movement and provides a clear view of the construction, while ensuring maximum stability compared with a conventional oscillating weight.
This innovative horological architecture, complemented by the natural escapement, serves to achieve a one-third increase in the winding force of the micro-rotor and thus to achieve an 80-hour power reserve. Its efficiency is thus far superior to the majority of classic escapements and is above all extremely stable over the long term – an asset that significantly contributes to the exceptionally accurate rate of this chronometer certified by Besançon Observatory.
The decoration and finishing of the movement are in keeping with the finest watchmaking traditions. The sapphire crystal case-back of the Galet Traveller provides a fine view of the finesse of this workmanship. In addition to the Côtes de Genève motif adorning the bridges and the circular-graining of the mainplate, the sides are manually chamfered and the screw heads are polished. The authenticity of the hand chamfering is perceptible in the clean cut of the interior angles that no machine can achieve and which demonstrate the authenticity of the watchmaking art as exercised by Laurent Ferrier.
Ref. : LCF007 G/R
- Self-winding Calibre LF230.01 chronometer-certified by Besançon Observatory
- Off-centred micro-rotor in 18K solid gold with pawl-fitted unidirectional winding, fixed between the mainplate and the bridge of the micro-rotor and equipped with a “silent bloc” shock-absorbing system
- Natural escapement with double direct-impulse directly on the balance
- Silicon pallet-lever with self-lubricating properties, escape-wheels in a phosphorous nickel alloy, produced according to LIGA technology.
- Indications: hours, minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock home time/reference time at 9 o’clock.
- Correctors: crown for winding and time-setting and, on the left side of the case, two push-buttons (+) and (-) respectively positioned at 10 and 8 o’clock, to adjust the time hour per hour with automatic date correction.
- Stop-seconds function
- Diameter: 14’’’ ( Ø 31.60 mm)
- Thickness: 5,80 mm
- Frequency: 3Hz (21,600 vibrations per hour)
- Power reserve: 80 hours
- 288 parts
- 44 jewels
- 18K/750 5N red gold or 210Pd non-rhodium plated white gold
- Three parts: case middle, bezel and snap-on case-back
- Size: Ø 41 mm (49 mm including the lugs)
- Thickness: of the material 10 mm / including the sapphire crystal 12.64 mm
- Domed sapphire crystals, front and back
- Water-resistant to 30 metres
- “Ball-shaped” crown in 18K/750 5N red gold or 210Pd 18K white gold
- Silver-toned, midnight blue or slate grey 925 Ag solid silver, vertical satin-brushed finish in the centre surrounded by circular satin-brushed motif
- “Teardrop” hour-markers in 18K/750 red gold, 210Pd white gold or white-painted
- Minute track around the dial circumference
- Bevelled date window at 3 o’clock
- Small seconds counter at 6 o’clock
- Dual time-zone aperture at 9 o’clock
- 18K gold
- Hours and minutes: “assegai-shaped”
- Seconds: baton-type with counterweight ou counterpoised baton-type
- Hand-sewn black or chestnut brown alligator leather, Alcantara lining
- 16 mm pin buckle or double-blade folding clasp, in 18K/750 5N red gold or 210 Pd white gold